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Obama Enemy Investigated and Audited

Last August, Idaho businessman Frank VanderSloot gave $1 million to Restore Our Future, the SuperPac supporting Mitt Romney

In April, according to Wall Street Journal columnist Kimberly Strassel, the Obama campaign website put him on one of its enemies lists –  “Keeping GOP Honest” – smearing Vandersloot as one among a group of “wealthy individuals with less-than-reputable records” who in particular was “litigious, combative and a bitter foe of the gay rights movement.”

He’s combative! The nerve of him.

Just 12 days after coming under attack by the Obama campaign, Mr. VanderSloot found out that a private investigator – who had recently worked for the Senate Democrats and was now in the employ of an opposition research firm – was sifting through his records for dirt.

And then on June 21, VanderSloot got a love note from the IRS informing him that he and his wife were being audited, according to Strassel.

Mr. VanderSloot, who is 63 and has been working since his teens, says neither he nor his accountants recall his being subject to a federal tax audit before. He was once required to send documents on a line item inquiry into his charitable donations, which resulted in no changes to his taxes. But nothing more—that is until now, shortly after he wrote a big check to a Romney-supporting Super PAC.

Not to be outdone, the Labor Department got in on the investigation

Two weeks after receiving the IRS letter, Mr. VanderSloot received another—this one from the Department of Labor. He was informed it would be doing an audit of workers he employs on his Idaho-based cattle ranch under the federal visa program for temporary agriculture workers . . .

This letter requests an array of documents to ascertain whether Mr. VanderSloot’s “foreign workers are provided the full scope of protections” under the visa program: information on the hours they’ve worked each day and their rate of pay, an explanation of their deductions, copies of contracts. And on and on.

I’m sure this is all a coincidence. How could the Obama administration do something that would look so obviously bad?

Unless, of course, that’s exactly the point. The bad publicity may be conveying an important message:

If you’re thinking of donating $1 million to a pro-Romney PAC, please make sure your papers are in order, because someone may soon be demanding to see them.

Obama Takes Down the Rest of His Ads in Colorado

Looks like there’s a lot of positioning going on to make sure each candidate seems appropriately mournful of the events in Aurora, Colorado.

The Obama campaign just put out word that it has pulled ALL its ads from Colorado markets. Earlier, the campaign said it was taking down only the attack ads.

From the pool report:

From a campaign official:

“We have asked affiliates in Colorado to pull down all of our advertising for the time being.  Not just contrast spots.  It takes time for stations to be able to do this, but we are making every effort.”

This follows word that Romney had suspended ALL advertising in the state.

Obama Returning to DC; Pulls Colo. Attack Ads

Updated 11:28 am ET

President Obama addressed the Colorado mass murder this morning during an event in Fort Myers, Florida and is now headed back to Washington to monitor the situation.

Obama canceled a scheduled campaign event outside Orlando.

“He wants to be back in Washington to get further updates on this, and I think you can expect that he will upon arrival,” said White House Press Secretary Jay Carney.

Meanwhile, the Obama campaign will pull its attack ads in Colorado for the time being, though the process may take some time, according to Obama campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki.

The Fort Myers event, which had also been scheduled to be a campaign appearance, was shortened and turned into a venue for a statement by Obama on the tragedy.

From the pool report:

President Obama spoke for about 6 minutes to a convention center full of supporters. There was an american flag and bunting, but no campaign signs with the now familiar “Forward” campaign slogan. There was no music and the mood was somber.

Obama said: “This morning, we woke up to news of a tragedy that remind us we are always united as an American family.”

He said, “We may never understand what leads anyone to terrorize their fellow human beings, such violence, such evil senselessness is beyond reason.”

But, he added, “We do know what makes life worth living. People in Aurora loved and were loved.”

“I’m sure many of you are parents who had the same reaction I did when we heard the news. My daughters go to the movies. What if Malia and Sasha had been at the theater as so many kids do each day?”

He led a moment of silence five minutes into the speech.

Mitt Romney will also use what had been scheduled to be a campaign event in New Hampshire to talk about the shooting. His campaign is pulling its ads in Colorado.

Obama was briefed this morning a 5:26 am ET on the shootings by Homeland Security Adviser John Brennan.

Carney, who appeared to choke up during a briefing for reporters aboard Air Force One, indicated that the shootings do not appear to be related to terrorism.

Obama’s Remorseless Attacks Having Little Effect

Weeks of vicious attacks by the Obama campaign assailing Mitt Romney’s character and making questionable charges about his stewardship of Bain Capital have yielded the following result: the latest national poll, released by the New York Times, shows Romney with a slight edge.

With little record to run on, an economy mired in slow growth, and unemployment stuck above eight percent, the Obama team must face the possibility that it is unloading some of its only rhetorical ammunition without result. And after burning through $100 million of his money on campaign ads, Obama has failed to establish a lead over his rival.

The poll suggests an extraordinarily dangerous possibility for the Obama campaign: that concerns about the dismal economy trump all other issues and provide Romney with a teflon coating with which he can deflect the bullets of the grinding Obama attack machine.

The poll puts Romney slightly ahead, 45 to 43 percent. But perhaps even more serious for Obama is that only 39 percent say they approve of  his handling of the economy – compared to 44 percent in April – while 55 percent say they disapprove, up from 48 percent.

Meanwhile, Obama’s overall approval rating, which had been flirting with a rise above the crucial 50 percent barrier, stands currently at 46 percent, according to the daily Gallup tracking poll. The New York Times puts Obama’s approval at 44 percent.

The barrage against Romney from the Obama campaign has included charges – widely questioned by independent observers – that he presided over the offshoring of jobs as head of Bain Capital, as well as suggestions that he may have cheated on his taxes.

The unrelenting attacks by Obama may also be having a subtler deleterious effect on his campaign.

The president is having trouble meeting his fundraising goals and must log countless miles traversing the country to try to fill his coffers. The financial shortfall is reflective of the depleted enthusiasm for Obama among his supporters, who have watched as he has unintentionally rebranded himself from the 2008 candidate of hope and change into a crude politician willing to do whatever it takes to ensure his political survival.

Obama is All Wet

President Obama was drenched today during a campaign rally in Glen Allen, Virginia, where the skies opened up and Obama’s podium lacked cover.

Here’s some video from a local TV station:

The president addressed only 900 people at the event, according to local officials.

The Obama Campaign’s Fake Romney Criticism

I love it when the Obama campaign tries to pretend its effort is not about money but about the grass roots and all those Republicans, all they care about is money and their fat cat contributors and blah blah blah.

This morning Rufus Gifford, the Obama finance chairman, disingenuously – and that’s being nice – announced that Mitt Romney with the snap of a finger can suddenly raise up to $75,800. Here’s part of what he wrote. The bold is his.

Here we go — Romney, the Republican National Committee, and Republican state parties just announced they’ll begin raising money together.

Just like that, Romney’s donors can give $75,800 — a significant boost from the $5,000 max they could give last week.

We’re not going to get a clearer sign that this election is on.

All of the emails, door knocks, and donations were preparing us for today.

If you know you’re going to support President Obama with a donation in the next seven months, now’s the time to do it — donate $3 or more.

Romney is clearly AN EVIL GENIUS, right? Can you imagine the noive of this guy, conspiring with the RNC to pad his pockets with largess of industrialists, lobbyists, and other similar demons while Obama pleads for a little change from the working man.

Except . . .

As Rufus Gifford surely knows, this allegedly cynical move by Romney MERELY GIVES HIM THE SAME CAPABILITY OBAMA HAS HAD FOR NEARLY A YEAR.

From the Los Angeles Times, June 11, 2011:

President Obama’s reelection team has launched an invigorated effort to draw money from wealthy donors, buttressing the campaign against a potential decline in contributions from the everyday supporters who helped fuel his massive take in 2008.

A new program called Presidential Partners asks supporters to commit $75,800 to the Obama Victory Fund, a joint project of the campaign and the Democratic National Committee.

JUST LAST NIGHT, as Gifford  was composing his email, Obama hosted a fundraiser at a swank Washington hotel where he pocketed $40,000 each from twenty donors who probably don’t work the night shift at the steel plant. This is not an unusual occurrence – Obama has held many such intimate gatherings with people willing to spend the sum of a first-class fully loaded SUV just to have a few minutes of face time with The One.

Obama needs these kind of donors, because the Man of the People is actually burning through money faster than the Republicans, even though he’s not even involved in a primary.

According to the Associated Press, Obama has spent more than $135 million, a greater amount than Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum combined.

Obama wants you to think he’s running his campaign emotion and commitment. But the fuel he needs most – and not just in $3 increments – is cash. And he has plenty of his own rich people ready to grease his palm.

Obama Appoints Sid Vicious Campaign Manager

President Obama today appointed former punk rocker Sid Vicious to be his campaign manager, ousting for chief Jim Messina as Obama’s fundraising numbers lag and Mitt Romney begins to beat him in head-to-head matchups.

Obama admitted the move was partially symbolic, since Vicious has been dead for 33 years.

Both Vicious and Rotten are expected to play a role in the Obama campaign.

“Even though Mr. Vicious is no longer with us, I have come to believe that he can do a better job promoting and advancing my candidacy than the team we currently have in place,” Obama said during a brief phone interview with White House Dossier. “Plus, Sid Vicious truly embodies the spirit of this campaign. I can think of no one I would like more to have spearheading my reelection effort as we work to destroy whichever of the Neanderthals – I’m sorry, Republicans – opposes us.”

Messina dismissed the move and said Obama was still hungover from the State Dinner. “The president will soon realize the limitations of having a dead guy run his campaign,” Messina said. “I mean, what, are they going to replace the 7 am strategy call with a séance? I’ll be back soon enough.”

Vicious was the bassist for 70s-era punk band, the Sex Pistols, which also included singer Johnny Rotten. Rotten, who is still alive, is also expected to have a leading part in the Obama campaign.

The news comes as the Washington Post noticed today that Obama is already campaigning, and that all those trips to Ohio, Florida and other key swing states were not merely about policy.

The Post reports:

The Obama White House moved fully into reelection mode this week, leaving aside any pretense of being above the fray and beginning an unabashed political effort to lay the groundwork for what polls suggest could be eight difficult months of campaigning ahead.

Thursday seemed to mark a significant shift in approach and intensity, with overtly political speeches by President Obama and Vice President Biden and the release of a 17-minute documentary-style testimonial celebrating what the administration considers its most significant achievements.

But sources within the campaign acknowledged that the speeches were nothing new, but that they did bear some of the handiwork of Vicious, who appears to have moved swiftly to take the reins of the campaign.

Obama, during a speech at Prince George’s Community College in Maryland, called Republicans “cynics and naysayers” who would have been “founding members of the Flat Earth Society” for not buying into wind and solar energy.

Wrote the Post:

Although it was billed as an official White House event, Obama’s appearance took on the feeling of a campaign rally. Hundreds of enthusiastic students filled the college’s gymnasium and chanted “Four more years!”

Here’s a look:

Biden, speaking in Toledo, Ohio, said Republicans are “about no rules, no risks and no accountability” and “If you give any one of these guys the keys to the White House, they will bankrupt the middle class again.”

The Post wrote that Biden’s nastiness “was another clear indicator that Democrats intend to fiercely contest Ohio.” The article left out that the first “clear indicator” was that Obama has visited the state 436 times since becoming President.

Sid Vicious could not be reached for comment.

*******

Thanks to cartoonist Rich Terrell and Editor Lucy Gill at AfterMath for use of the cartoon.

Obama Keeps Fundraiser Totals Secret

The Obama 2012 presidential campaign refuses to release its fundraising totals for individual events involving the president, keeping a dark curtain over one the least savory aspects of campaigning for the nation’s highest office.

The hiding of Obama’s fundraising event totals is inconsistent with the pledge of openness that has been a watchword of Obama’s campaigns and presidency. And the omission is particularly glaring given its contrast with past practices.

According to veteran CBS White House Correspondent Mark Knoller, who meticulously tracks various presidential metrics and frequently reports about them at Political Hotsheet, while Obama never releases his fundraising totals, George W. Bush did.

“The Bush Campaign routinely told reporters how much money it expected to raise at any given event,” Knoller said. “Not so the Obama campaign.”

The Obama campaign does release cumulative totals at the end of each quarter. And, as Knoller notes, it is sometimes possible to deduce the total take at an event from ticket prices – which are often revealed – and the number of people expected at an event.

But even then, it can be hard to know the total raised, because tickets are often described in a range of prices, and it is not always clear that everyone in attendance paid the exact amount of the “ticket” – or even if they were allowed to sit in gratis. And reporters often fail to do the addition, resulting in far less publicity for the fundraising total.

With Obama’s emphasis on battling for “the 99 percent,” the Obama campaign has tremendous incentive to downplay the millions the president can collect in a single evening from well heeled patrons in wealthy liberal bastions like Hollywood and New York City.

Obama frequently holds intimate events with small groups of extravagantly rich donors who fork over the maximum $35,800 for the Democratic National Committee and the Obama campaign. At least one event this year has maxed out at $45,000, with donors throwing in a donation to Democratic state efforts as well.

Obama has what is likely to be a big-ticket fundraiser this evening, traveling to a private residence in Washington to pass the hat around.

Even the announcement of a fundraising event is obscured by the White House. The official schedule never bills a fundraiser as as fundraiser. Instead, it says – as it does for tonight’s gathering – that Obama is slated to be at “a campaign event,” which to the untrained eye could mean a speech or a rally. But each of these are actually fundraisers.

What’s more, if Obama does not deliver formal remarks at the event, there is no transcript of anything he says, and the event is closed to the press.

The Obama campaign did not respond to a request for comment on why it refuses to release the fundraising totals.

Obama’s First Ad Flops

The Obama campaign has released its first commercial. It’s a disaster. Have a look. First of all what is this thing about exactly? It starts out as a defense of President Obama’s backing of Solyndra, the solar panel maker that the president celebrated as an emblem of the future but which inconveniently went belly up… Continue Reading

Obama Campaign Collecting GOP Emails

The Obama presidential campaign is launching an effort to collect Republican email addresses by inviting its supporters to submit information about their Republican associates to the Obama 2012 website. The effort could help the Obama campaign build a database that would enable it to target Republican voters during the general election campaign. But, more perniciously,… Continue Reading